Chrome 2001
.
Aetna Intelihealth InteliHealth Aetna Intelihealth Aetna Intelihealth
 
.
. .

   Advertisement
Carepass Ad Carepass Ad .
Chrome 2001
Chrome 2001
Health News Health News
.
Could the Weather Affect Your Stroke Risk?
February 12, 2014

 

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 12, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Imagine hearing a weather forecaster warn that tomorrow could be "colder with a chance of stroke."

As odd as that may seem, researchers have found possible associations between certain weather conditions and the incidence of strokes.

Larger daily temperature variations and higher humidity each were associated with higher stroke hospitalization rates, according to a new study.

The researchers also found that colder average annual temperatures were associated with stroke hospitalizations and death. An average daily temperature change of 5 degrees Fahrenheit was associated with about a 6 percent increase in stroke risk and hospitalization, the researchers said.

The reasons behind the findings are unclear, said study lead author Judith Lichtman. And although the study showed an association between weather and stroke risk, it didn't prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

"Daily fluctuations in temperature and increased humidity may actually be stressors," said Lichtman, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health. "People at risk for stroke may want to avoid being exposed to significant temperature changes and high humidity."

How might fluctuating temperatures actually stress the body? When temperatures go down, blood vessels in the skin constrict so the body doesn't waste a lot of heat, said Dr. Mark Stecker, chairman of the department of neurosciences at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y. When it's warm outside, the vessels open up to increase heat loss through the skin.

Stecker, who was not part of the research team, said the idea that weather can affect health is not new. "People think there should be a relationship," he said. "They often say things like, 'My joints hurt -- maybe it's going to rain,' or, 'I got a cold because it's cold outside.'"

There might be something to old wives' tales, he said, but it's extremely difficult to know for sure.

The study, which is scheduled for presentation Wednesday at the American Stroke Association meeting in San Diego, should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

For the research, Lichtman and her team used 2009-10 statistics from a national database on hospital inpatients, noting ischemic stroke hospitalizations of people 18 years old or older. Ischemic strokes happen as a result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain. The new study included data from nearly 135,000 patients.

Temperature and dew point were pulled from the U.S. National Climatic Data Center and linked to stroke discharges at the county level. Factors such as region, season, age, gender, race and patient health issues (such as diabetes and high blood pressure) were considered in the analysis of the data.

This study isn't the first to suggest a relationship between weather and stroke risk, Lichtman said. She said other studies done in Europe and Japan have shown seasonal associations for weather and stroke.

Lichtman suggested that people at risk of stroke who are living in a region with extreme weather fluctuations might want to minimize their exposure to the extremes. That might be as simple as staying indoors with air conditioning on a hot day or ensuring ample heating when it's especially cold outside, she said.

Fluctuating or extreme weather conditions should also raise alertness for the signs and symptoms of stroke, Lichtman said.

For his part, Stecker said the research will have a minimal impact on managing stroke risk.

"I'd tell a patient to not even think about it. People have enough anxiety already," he said. It's more important to focus on other risks, such as diet, weight, blood pressure, exercise and whether they take a statin to treat high cholesterol, he said.

Lichtman said she wants to do more research to better understand whether there is a more defined cause-and-effect relationship between weather and stroke risk, and explore the cause in more depth. "Understanding the reasons for the associations between weather conditions and stroke could lead to the development of targeted preventive interventions," she said.

Lichtman, who is married to a musician, said she knows firsthand how weather can affect us. "My husband's violin responds to extreme weather temperatures and humidity all the time," she said.

More information

Learn more about the signs and symptoms of stroke from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


SOURCES: Judith Lichtman, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor, epidemiology, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, Conn.; Mark Stecker, M.D., Ph.D., chairman, department of neurosciences, Winthrop-University Hospital, Mineola, N.Y.; Feb. 12, 2014, prese...

InteliHealth
.
.
.
.
.
More News
InteliHealth .
.
General Health News
Today's News
Today In Health History
This Week In Health
Addiction News
Allergy News
Alzheimer's News
Arthritis News
Asthma News
Babies News
Breast Cancer News
Bronchitis News
Cancer News
Caregiving News
Cervical Cancer News
Children's Health News
Cholesterol News
Complementary & Alternative Medicine News
Dental/Oral Health News
Depression News
Diabetes News
Ear, Nose And Throat News
Environmental Health News
Eye News
Fitness News
Genetics News
Headache News
Health Policy News
Heart Attack News
Heart Failure News
Heart Health News
HIV/AIDS News
Infectious Diseases News
Influenza News
Lung Cancer News
Medication News
Men's Health News
Mental Health News
Multiple Sclerosis News
Nutrition News
Parkinson's News
Pregnancy News
Prevention News
Prostate Cancer News
Schizophrenia
Senior Health News
Sexual/Reproductive Health News
Sexual dysfunction
Sleep News
STDs News
Stroke News
Tobacco Cessation News
Weight Management News
Women's Health News
.
.
.
.
InteliHealth
    Print Printer-friendly format    
   
.  
This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify.
.